Commonwealth Games: England women beat Australia to win historic first hockey gold

Celebrating England Hockey
England won hockey bronze on the Gold Coast four years ago
Hosts: Birmingham dates: July 28 to August 8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with additional streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

The England women’s hockey team won gold at the Commonwealth Games for the first time with a 2-1 victory over Australia.

Holly Hunt’s great attack opened the scoring for England, before Tess Howard changed direction a second minute later.

Australia scored a consolation strike with 19 seconds left but were unable to silence the packed crowd.

“It’s the first time in history we’ve done this,” England captain Hollie Pearne-Webb told BBC Sport.

“It’s a new group. I think it’s going to be quite exciting in the next two years when we join the GB squad when the Scots and the Welsh come in.

“The support from the public has been absolutely phenomenal. I feel so lucky that it is in my career that we have a Commonwealth Games at home.”

England had won a medal at every Commonwealth Games since hockey was added to the program in 1998 – but never gold.

That all changed on Sunday at the University of Birmingham, in front of a rowdy home crowd who played perfectly as England’s twelfth wife.

After a restrained opening quarter, with England winning three penalty corners, Flora Peel fed Hunt at the top of the D early in the second quarter to give the hosts the lead with a fine finish.

Just four minutes later, Peel pushed the ball into the goal, with Howard hitting it over the Australia goalkeeper and into the net.

Australia seemed the stronger side after the break, but England came close to a third goal via Anna Toman, who scored a goal from a penalty corner.

The Hockeyroos managed to get a goal back in the closing seconds, Ambrosia Malone with a scrappy strike after a short corner, which was finally confirmed after a lengthy video review.

It is the second consecutive Games in which four-time champions Australia have lost the final, after losing to New Zealand four years ago.

On her feelings at the final whistle, Pearne-Webb added: “Just pure relief – it was a bit of an up and down game. We played well in the first half, got out a bit in the second half, absorbed a bit of pressure and finally got there.”

Pearne-Webb is one of six players in the England squad to win Olympic gold for Great Britain in 2016. The home countries compete as GB in the Olympics and in the FIH Pro League in the two years leading up to the Games.

England’s Grace Balsdon closes the tournament as joint top scorer with six goals.

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